B. F. Skinner's Theory of Behavior
Skinner's theory is based on
operant conditioning, which means when
the organism is operating on the environments, the organism will encounter a special kind
of reinforcing stimulus or simply a
A behavior followed by a reinforcing stimulus results in an
increased probability of that behavior occurring in the future. A behavior no longer
followed by the reinforcing stimulus results in a decreased probability of that behavior occurring
in the future.
Punishment may end an undesirable behavior, but ending the reinforcement
of such behavior and replacing it with a desirable behavior (by means of positive reinforcement)
is more effective.
By shaping (giving direction or assistance), we can make a living thing produce behaviors it
would never have produced if it were to do as it wishes. To stop a unrestrained behavior,
the behaviors which are closer and closer to the desired behavior can be rewarded, and
in the end, the desired behavior will appear.
The most common schedules of reinforcement are continuous, fixed interval, variable
interval, fixed ratio, and variable ratio. Continuous reinforcement is the most effective
way to reinforce a behavior; and variable reinforcement is the least effective way.
Primary reinforcers, like food and water, are reinforcing without any earlier training.
Secondary reinforcers, come to have a reinforcing effect by association with primary reinforcers, like:
imagining food and water, which makes you feel satisfied.
stimulus generalization, the organism learns to make a
particular response in situations that are very similar to the situation in which the
response was learned. By
stimulus discrimination, the organism learns not to make a particular
response in situations that are different from the one in which the response was learned.